Sidetracked - Kurt Wallander, Bk 5 Author:Henning Mankell, Steven T. Murray (Translator) Kurt Wallander is called to a nearby rapeseed field where a teenage girl has been loitering all day long. He arrives just in time to watch her douse herself in gasoline and set herself aflame. The next day he is called to a beach where Sweden’s former Minister of Justice has been axed to death and scalped. The murder has the obvious markin... more »gs of a demented serial killer, and Wallander is frantic to find him before he strikes again.
But his investigation is beset with a handful of obstacles -- a department distracted by the threat of impending cutbacks and the frivolity of World Cup soccer, a tenuous long-distance relationship with a murdered policeman’s widow, and the unshakably haunting preoccupation with the young girl who set herself on fire. « less
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Sidetracked is pure Mankell. An intricate plot, with lots of sub-plots and side roads, great descriptive phrases, involved characterizations (multi-level individuals), and many things to get one off track if the reader is not careful.
Mankell is a fantastic writer; I have read almost all of his work, and Sidetracked is one of the best.
#5 Kurt Wallander Swedish police procedural set in and around Ystad. Wallander, hoping for an uneventful few weeks leading up to his summer holiday, is sorely disappointed when two troubling cases present themselves. First, he takes a call from an elderly farmer who has observed a girl in his rape (canola) field all day. She's behaving oddly and won't go away and wants the police. When Wallander arrives, he also observes the girl's odd behavior and it's not long before, to his horror, she dumps gasoline on herself and sets herself on fire!
While he is still reeling from that incident, a call comes in about a man murdered with an axe--who's been scalped. One of those is bad enough--and it will be a higher profile case, as the victim was an elderly retired government official--but when a second murder with the same M.O. comes to light a few days later, Wallander knows they have a serial killer on their hands and his holidays to be spent abroad with his Latvian lover Baiba are in jeopardy.
As Wallander and his team try to determine the connection between the two victims, they call in a profiler, although he is somewhat inexperienced given that serial killers seem to be not that prolific in Sweden. Tension mounts as they fear another killing and reprisals from the public and the press, poring over hundreds of reports and trying to come at the crimes through many different angles. While all this is going on, Wallander finds out that his father has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, although he's at the early stage where he knows there's something wrong.
As usual, Wallander is a bit of a gloomy gus, and sometimes it can be a bit of a struggle to slog through his worries, self-doubt and pessimism. I still find him endearing, and of course his selfless dedication to his work is to be commended--otherwise, how would the criminals be caught? LOL At any rate, this was an excellent entry in the series and I'm looking forward to the next.